Cincinnati at Minnesota
Sunday, 10 am PT - CBS
CRIS Opener: Minnesota -10 O/U 41
CRIS Current: Minnesota -11.5 O/U 42
Cincinnati hasn’t been a double-digit underdog in any game since 2008; a testament to the strength of Marvin Lewis’s tenure with the team. Of course it is probably worth noting that Cinci went 0-3 ATS in their final three tries as double digit dogs nearly a decade ago; non-competitive in defeat.
The Bengals were non-competitive in defeat again last week, walloped 33-7 at home by a Bears team that came into the game with a 3-9 record. The quotes coming out of Cinci’s locker room after the defeat weren’t particularly positive, to put it mildly. Andy Dalton: “We didn’t have a lot of energy.” George Iloka: “We came out flat.” Brandon LaFell: “We laid an egg.” So what changes this week? Not much!
Cinci is an injured riddled mess right now. Their entire starting linebacking corps has been unable to practice this week. Don’t expect LB’s Vontaze Burfict, Kevin Minter or Nick Vigil to suit up on Sunday. CB Dre Kilpatrick is still in concussion protocol, unlikely to see action. CB Darqueze Dennard was limited on Thursday, as was safety Shawn Williams. RB’s Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard are both banged up, as is TE Tyler Kroft, DE Carlos Dunlap and offensive tackle Eric Winston.
It’s looking more and more like Marvin Lewis’s extended tenure as the Bengals head coach is coming to a close. Veteran teams at the tail end of disappointing seasons with a lame duck head coach are not generally ‘bet-on’ squads on the highway against elite defensive foes. And when that elite defensive foe is coming off a loss, like the Vikings are, it’s a particularly bad spot for the road underdog.
While Cinci’s injury list continues to grow, the Vikings should get starting CB Xavier Rhodes back in the lineup this week, and they could have LT Reilly Reiff and TE Kyle Rudolph healthy as well. Right tackle Mike Remmers and center Pat Elflein are both expected back in the starting lineup this week after missing the game against Carolina last Sunday.
And the Vikings have proven they can beat teams by margin. Eight of their ten wins have come by eight points or more; not a squad giving up late backdoor touchdowns to kill their pointspread backers. This is NOT too much of a price to lay backing a legit Super Bowl contender at home against a team that showed nothing but ‘quit’ last week.